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Yesterday in La Crosse

An amendment for term limits, 73 years ago

Brad Williams



In March of 1947, Congress passed a constitutional amendment, barring a president of the United States from being elected to more than two terms.  The proposed 22nd Amendment was a reaction to Franklin Roosevelt being elected to four terms during the depression and World War II.  Iowa wanted to be the first state to ratify the amendment, but missed that goal by one day.  Maine and Michigan took their votes ahead of Iowa.  Wisconsin approved the amendment on April 16th.  Minnesota was the state to put the amendment over the top in 1951.   

A movie drama about a former First Lady was playing in La Crosse in early 1947.  “Magnificent Doll” starred Ginger Rogers as Dolley Madison.  The film portrayed Dolley as being romantically pursued by two early American politicians: James Madison, played by Burgess Meredith, and Aaron Burr, portrayed by David Niven.  Ginger Rogers later went on to appear on Broadway in ‘Hello, Dolly!’–which was NOT about Dolley Madison.  

On stage in La Crosse, the head of the theater department at La Crosse State appeared in a mostly student production of “The Corn Is Green,” which had recently been made as a movie starring Bette Davis.  Marie Park Toland played the lead role of a schoolteacher in Wales.  A new theater on campus was named for Dr. Toland in the 1970’s, after her retirement.  But the teacher was on stage in 1947, yesterday in La Crosse.      

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